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For Park Over Ga. 400, Key Decision Comes Soon

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Six firms are competing to design a wild concept in Buckhead that has serious legs

The campaign to cap a stretch of Ga. Highway 400 in central Buckhead with a vibrant, 10-acre green space could reach an important milestone in a few weeks. The Buckhead Community Improvement District — the group who cooked up this wild concept last year, which has since gained serious legs — could select the design firm that would build the park at their April 6 meeting, according to Reporter Newspapers. Earlier this year, the CID released a request for proposals from qualified firms, and it sounds like visions (at least one of them inspired) for the 1/3-mile park poured in.

Board members are vetting proposals from six different firms who all submitted "outstanding" ideas, in the eyes of Jim Durrett, CID Executive Director. However, at a recent meeting, CID board member Thad Ellis, a senior vice president at Cousins Properties, countered that the proposals ranged from a "fancy regurgitation" of items in the RFP to one that was "fantastic," the newspaper reports. (Names of the bidders have not been revealed). Proposals are being weighed for technical merits and costs, and at the April meeting, board members could select the top vision or table the park idea altogether. (Let's not do the latter).

The RFP made one thing very clear: Project leaders are aiming for a signature attraction that can hold its own with the great urban parks of America.

The preliminary vision drew inspiration from places like Chicago's Millennium Park, Union Square in New York City, and Klyde Warren Park, which capped a highway in Downtown Dallas but is only about half the size of Buckhead's nearly 10-acre proposal.

The RFP sought qualified firms who could create a schematic plan, devise a funding strategy, and generally study the viability of creating the park. (Make no mistake, though, CID officials are convinced this can be done). Its location would be over the highway and MARTA's Buckhead Station, between the Atlanta Financial Center and Lenox Road/Buckhead Loop.